Playing GODS (Part 1 of 2)
(Disclaimer: we are giving you a sneak peek into our laboratory. The system is presented to you in a very raw way. We will be happy to answer your questions as they come!)
Before we get into the Traits, Skills, Abilities, combat, and specifics of the TOTEM System©, which GODS’ rules are based on, let’s take a closer look at its three main features. We believe these make the GODS experience exciting and unique: the Characters’ Party, the Game Modes, and the Voting phases.
The Characters’ Party
Unlike many RPGs, where each player creates their own character and they evolve on their own, GODS attaches a real importance to the relationships that unite not only the characters, but the players as well. The rules emphasize these social and collaborative aspects.
Before they create their own heroes, the players design their character’s Party: a community with common goals, history, shared resources, and collective abilities. Enough of unlikely dark elves, lawful knights, lone rangers, and faithless necromancers happily teaming up across the universe to share gold and glory— we want players to build a cohesive group, driven by common goals. The rules are here to help!
Whether they are all part of a mercenary guild, a horde of barbarians, a wanted cult of wizards, or a bunch of mystics from a shaman tribe, characters are first created as a Party. Players can decide how they met, why they joined forces, how they are organized, and which rules they follow.
- The Party is defined by Level and gains its own Experience Points: When the characters achieve significant collective tasks or reach some of the Goals the players defined during the Party generation, the more the group level evolves. This means the players can develop new group capabilities (Party Abilities), and increase their Reserve, a shared dice pool which all members of the group use to increase their chances of success.
- On the other hand, when the adventurers fail, break the rules of their community, or start hurting each other, the shared Reserve diminishes and the Morale of the Party collapses. Handicaps then begin to affect the use of the precious Party Abilities.
The Game Modes
Just like some video games offer various levels of difficulty, GODS lets the players decide how realistic, dangerous, epic, and supernatural their characters’ world and journey will be. That choice influences not only the universe and its atmosphere, but also the rules, options, and abilities granted to the players and gamemaster.
GODS offers three Game Modes: Heroic, Epic and Legendary.
Defined by the players and the gamemaster during the first game, the choice of a Game Mode determines the level of the characters during the character generation phase, the power of the Shards they use, and the spells and powers they can develop. It also determines the scope, the intensity, and the level of danger the Gamemaster uses.
Whether it's NPCs, creatures, events, battles, or secret regions, some background elements can only be featured in specific Game Modes. The more powerful, divine, or linked to the secrets of the universe, the higher the Game Mode required for them to appear in game.
- Legendary NPCs, such as gods and titans, can only be featured in Legendary Mode. If the players choose to play Heroic or Epic Mode, the gamemaster cannot play them directly and the characters cannot meet them in the game. On the other hand, nothing will prevent them from hearing about them or confronting some of their less powerful lieutenants...
From the Heroic Game Mode, which is recommended for the first games, players will be able to evolve over their adventures and can upgrade to Epic Mode, and ultimately to Legendary. They can explore increasingly dangerous areas, take part to larger events, and meet more and more fearsome NPCs.
The Voting phases
In order for the players to have an influence on the course of the game, and encourage them to play together, the GODS game system includes voting phases. Some are rules-related and affect the resources and capabilities of the Party, while others can change the universe itself.
In terms of characters, players will be asked to vote on all decisions that affect the Group as a whole. The use of experience points to buy a new Party Ability, choosing a new Goal, or the right to tap into the Common Reserve to roll additional dice— all choices linked to the Party are subject to a voting phase.
As for the universe, players not only choose their Game Mode, but also decide the outcome of certain events, the reality of a rumor, or even the existence of certain creatures. In scenarios, when their characters hear about a legend, discover ruins, witness a battle, or find mysterious remnants, the Gamemaster can submit these Rumors and Events to a vote by the players.
- If the characters find a map or a journal leading to a tomb, players can vote to decide whether it is an Old God sanctuary or a simple rumor. However, these votes are made in secret and only the gamemaster knows what the players decided. The rumor remains a rumor until they decide to go there by themselves ...
That was all for part 01!
In Part 02, we will show you how to roll the dice and how much Damage an Avhorean sword or a legendary Sharded axe may deal…